War Threats against Syria

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - Parallel to the Arab League's war threats against Syria, Germany is pleading to raise the pressure on the Syrian regime. It is consensus in the main capitals of the western world, including Berlin, that Moscow’s recent UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria is not confrontational enough and therefore insufficient. The Arab League's Syria observers are expected to deliver their report tomorrow, Thursday, which can serve as a justification for tougher action. The emirate Qatar's autocrat, who for the past few months has taken on the role of the Arab League’s rabble-rouser with the German government’s approbation, is now calling for military intervention against Syria. Berlin's use of an alleged concern for the violation of human rights, to justify its aggressive policy toward the Assad government, could serve as a prime example of the German government’s humanitarian cynicism to legitimatize its global policy. The German government was indifferent to human rights, as long as Damascus was a helpful partner for warding off migrants and as a torture chamber for interrogations within the framework of the "war on terror." Today, human rights activists are being ignored, when they criticize the Arabian Gulf dictatorships, such as Qatar, because they serve as the West’s auxiliary forces. The focus is on geo-strategic plans, such as the neutralization of Iran's last ally in the Arab world, Syria.

Intervene Militarily

The German government continues to insist on the total isolation of the Syrian government. There is consensus in the German and the other western capitals that the recent Russian UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria is insufficient. Instead, Berlin is awaiting the report of the Arab League's Syria observers, due to be presented tomorrow, Thursday, because it could legitimize much tougher measures toward Damascus. In fact, the Emir of Qatar, who has recently been posing as the driving force in the Arab League - particularly in hostility toward the Assad government - is now calling for Arab troops to intervene in Syria. The emir proclaimed on US CBS TV channel that there must be military intervention.[1] According to reports, this demand, which was broadcast last Sunday, had already been recorded last November but has only now been made public.[2]

Deportation and Torture

For years, the German government has been cooperating with the Syrian regime, which it is now seeking to overthrow, in cooperation with other western and Arab League governments. Berlin's concern for human rights, being deployed today against Damascus, has never played a role in the past. This had been the case neither in its intelligence service cooperation, initiated by Bonn in 1986 [3] - only a few years after the 1982 Hama massacre, in which the Syrian military is suspected of having killed tens of thousands in operations against the oppositional Muslim Brotherhood. The cooperation between the secret services of the two countries later led directly to torture operations, within the framework of the so-called war on terror. German officials observed, while a German citizen of Moroccan origin was abducted to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured. German secret service operatives and police officers then went to Damascus to interrogate him in prison.[4] In 2002, police cooperation between Berlin, Damascus and Beirut was initiated for preventing refugees from setting out from the Eastern Mediterranean to reach the affluent European shores.[5] Then, in 2009, the German and Syrian governments reached an agreement that facilitated Germany's deportation of Syrian refugees.[6] In fact, numerous refugees were then deported, many of whom were arrested upon their arrival in Syria. Even youth were put in solitary confinement. For years, Berlin ignored the protests of human rights organizations.

Develop Markets

One reason for the German government's disinterest was simply its interest in developing - just like Washington - closer cooperation with Syria. US President Barack Obama had abandoned his predecessor's belligerent policy toward that country, in 2010, again appointing an Ambassador for the US to Damascus - just before the beginning of the upheavals. The German government had previously, extended its so-called development cooperation - with the declared objective to "develop" Syria "in the direction of a social market economy."[7] In February 2011, German Minister of Transportation Peter Ramsauer visited Damascus to promote major transportation projects: freight transport by rail from the Arabian Peninsula to Syria to facilitate the shipment of products from the booming industries at the Gulf to the EU via the Mediterranean. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) Still in September 2011, shortly after the announcement of EU sanctions, the German development ministry declared that it would not freeze development aid immediately to be able to keep channels open to Syria. However, this course has proven untenable, at least in the intermediate term, Berlin is therefore now focusing primarily on other channels.

Auxiliary Force Qatar

Cooperation with Qatar is hence taking precedence. Already in the war on Libya, the Gulf dictatorship proved its partisanship to the West: Within the framework of the Arab League, Qatar was supporting a "No-Fly-Zone" and later provided fighter aircraft, ground troops and other logistical support for Libyan insurgents.[9] According to observers, Islamist forces among the insurgents are still strong today because of the influence of those supported by Qatar. The emirate is characterized by the extremely rigid Wahhabi Islam of Saudi origin and is financing Islamist trends in various countries of the Arab world. Using its Al Jazeera TV station, which is owned by Doha's ruling clan, Qatar has successfully encouraged even secular oriented protests in various Arab countries. Inside the Arab League, Doha is playing the role of rabble-rouser against Syria and has been able to impose a policy of sanctions. Last December, German President Christian Wulff visited Qatar to intensify relations with the Emirate, which has proven to be a useful auxiliary force for the West against Damascus. The Assad regime has been utterly devastated and - also with Doha's support - can no longer assume its role as Iran's last ally in the Arab world. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[10])

Humanitarian Cynicism

Human rights organizations, who had strongly criticized Berlin's cooperation with the torturing regime in Damascus, now realize that the German government is conspiring with the feudal, Islamic, dictatorial regime in Doha. In Qatar, corporal punishment is still being meted out and draconian sentences for blasphemy are being handed down. Foreign migrant workers comprise the grand majority of the country's population. They have no protection of their civil rights and - according to critics - are submitted to a form of "modern-day slavery." (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) German media usually reports that Qatar has implemented women's right to vote, which facilitates German foreign policy objectives. However, they politely omit the fact that Qatar does not even have a national parliament and that the Emir has named a council - comprised solely of men - providing him with noncommittal advice. Representatives of business circles visiting Qatar recently warned that the country's few liberties are being rescinded and its surveillance has become the most stringent of the entire Arabian Peninsular. Qatar had also participated in the bloody repression of protests in Bahrain. It must be considered a remarkable government PR success that the German government can depict its pressure on the Syrian government, after having benefited for years from Damascus' use of torture, and its cooperation with countries such as Qatar, as a heroic human rights engagement.

[1] Qatar: A tiny country asserts powerful influence; www.cbsnews.com 15.01.2012
[2] Katars Emir sucht Verbündete für Intervention; www.spiegel.de 16.01.2012
[3] see also Repression - The Common Denominator (I)
[4] see also Oktober 2001 and Deutsch-syrischer Herbst
[5] see also Praktische Unterstützung
[6] see also Im Hungerstreik
[7] Syrisch-deutsche Zusammenarbeit; www.bmz.de
[8] see also Eine Frage der Taktik
[9] see also A Visit to Friends
[10] see also War Threats against Iran (II)
[11] see also A Visit to Friends